There are so many ways to enjoy a delicious cheese from serving it as a table cheese, melting it in a delicious dish, or grating it as the perfect finishing touch. Thanks to my friends at Sopexa, I recently had the opportunity to try out six different kinds of cheese from the “From the Heart of Europe” Campaign. Since we discovered our love of cheese and charcuterie boards during the last few years, having the opportunity to learn more about various cheeses including the sheep cheeses that I shared about recently and now six delicious Italian cheeses, has been such a fun experience.
The AOP Aigroform produces 6 PDO certified cheeses: Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Piava, Montasio, Asiago Fresco and Asiago Stagionata. Each cheese comes from a specific geographical area in Italy, and all cheeses that have the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) trademark can only be made exclusively in the territory that they are produced in.
— About Grana Padano —
Along with Parmigiano Reggiano & Asiago, Grana Padano is one of the most commonly known Italian cheeses and as with most Italian cheeses, have origins back to the middle ages and the Benedictine monks. Grana Padano was originally produced at the Chiaravalle Abbey in Northern Italy where the Benedictine monks turned to cattle herding to generate a steady supply of milk for the local population. They were so successful in their venture that they had more milk than was needed for the locals and developed Grana Padano cheese as a way to conserve their excess milk supply.
Grana Padano has a savory flavor similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, and due to the aging process which can range from 9-20 months, is one of the lactose-free cheeses that those of us with lactose intolerance can enjoy without any repercussions.
While Grana Padano was originally aged in a wood mold, it’s now pressed into a plastic mold. Once the cheese is pressed into the mold, after about 12 hours, a branding mold with identifications marks is inserted between the mold and the edge of the cheese. The branding mold features a cloverleaf with the number of the cheese house, the code for the province the cheese is being made in as well as the month and year of production. The most widely recognized markings that will be featured on the rind of this particular cheese are small, dotted lozenge shapes that alternate between the words GRANA and PADANO.
— Fall Charcuterie Board —
Brown Turkey Figs (washed/dried)
Grana Padano PDO (wedge)
Paul & Pippa Parmesan Crackers
34 Degrees Original Flavor Crisps
The Fine Cheese Co. Lemon Sea Salt EVOO Crackers
Gum Drops Grapes
Garlic Stuffed Olives
— Suggested Pairings —
As a table cheese with figs, honey, and anything sweet (aka on a charcuterie board)
Melted over a bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara (or) Rissotto
Grated over a Brussel Sprout Salad or Bowl of Tomato Soup
** The Grana Padano Cheese was provided by my friends at Sopexa and the From the Heart of Europe Campaign. All thoughts and opinions are my own.